2) NY Mets trade with the Cardinals for Keith Hernandez
More time spent with the Mets as a player and even after as a broadcaster makes Keith Hernandez a bigger figure in the history of this franchise. His reign as a New York City legend also began with a trade between the Mets and a division rival. What’s fun about including him is that the kids would never believe the St. Louis Cardinals were once division rivals with the Mets.
In the days before the wild card (yep, there wasn’t even one of them!) the Mets and Cardinals battled plenty for supremacy in the National League East. On June 15, 1983, the MLB trade deadline came and went. Blowing the younger generation’s minds further, that date is accurate. The deadline to make trades used to be much sooner.
This famous Mets trade sent Neil Allen and Rick Ownbey to the Cardinals. A huge win for New York, it was largely reactionary on behalf of St. Louis. Hernandez’s off-field issues became too much for them. He’d get a fresh start in New York where he continued to win Gold Gloves and enter his name into the MVP race.
Hernandez was the MVP runner-up in 1984 and would have two more finishes in the top ten while employed by the Amazins. A terrific hitter with multiple seasons over .300 with New York, he’s the second-best player in franchise history acquired in a deal with a division rival. Who is the best one? It’s a guy who many will argue is the best hitter at his position.